Monday, December 7, 2009

Thrifty Gifty #9—Freezer Paper Stenciling

Freezer paper stenciling is big fun, I think because it seems so “primitive” (freezer paper?) yet gives you such satisfying results. I’m certainly not the first to do it; you can find any number of tutorials on the internet. I’m just going to add one more.

Last year, I did this shirt for Firstborn for Christmas. If you do letters, or an image with similar negative space (like the inside of the ‘o’), be sure to save those pieces of freezer paper after you’ve cut them out. You will have to iron them on separately.


I’m going to do another t-shirt, because I was again doing this late in the evening and it’s what I found hanging in the closet. You could do it on any article of clothing with a smooth, flat fabric. In keeping with my theme, thrift stores are, of course, a great source of clothing at bargain prices.

You are not limited to clothing, though. You could do a canvas tote bag, or a plain throw pillow, or on fabric that you would then use to make said throw pillow, or whatever.

So, you need freezer paper, fabric paint in your choice of colors, an image to use as a stencil, and the item to be stenciled (plus an iron, paint brush and a craft knife). For my image, I used clip art.


I taped the image to the dull side of the freezer paper, then cut through both layers with the craft knife. (The shiny side has light wax coating, which is what makes it stick when you iron it.) If you’re artsy, you could just draw your image right onto the freezer paper. I haven’t tried running the freezer paper through the printer, but I suppose it could work, unless the printer created enough heat to melt the wax. I didn’t want to mess with that.IMG_4860


Next, put your item on the ironing board and arrange your stencil where you want it, shiny side down. Now put another piece of freezer paper under the fabric, shiny side up. That bottom piece will adhere to the back of the fabric and keep it from shifting, and also prevent the paint from leaking through.


With a warm, dry (no steam) iron, carefully iron over the stencil, making sure all the cut edges are adhered to the fabric, so the paint doesn’t leak under. Paint the image, getting good coverage, but not too thick. As much as you can, it may help to move the brush from the outer edge towards the middle of the image, rather than from the middle to the edge. (Sorry, no photo of me painting.)

Ideally, wait until it is totally dry to peel off the paper, but I didn’t have time for that tonight. It turned out fine, but there is some danger of smearing the paint if it’s not dry.



When it is totally dry, heat set it with the iron. After that, you’re good to go. I have washed Firstborn’s shirt many, many times in the last year and the paint still looks good; no flaking or anything.

This project is limited only by your imagination! Naturally, your cost will be affected by the item you choose to stencil, but you could do t-shirts for probably $3-$5 each—even brand new t-shirts can be found for $5. Freezer paper comes in a big roll which will last you a long time. Fabric paint is pretty cheap, but you can always use your Hobby Lobby or Michaels coupon to get it for even less.

Have fun with this one! I can practically guarantee you will be looking for more things to stencil once you’ve done your first!


Cindy from Chippewa Creek said...

Thanks for visiting. And yes, I will link up!!

Onto the freezer paper idea next!!

Destination Seaborn said...

Those look so good! I really need to get some freezer paper! What type of paint are you using? TFS! ~Lisa

Holly said...

This particular paint is Tulip Soft fabric paint. I believe I got it at Hobby Lobby. I imagine any fabric paint would be fine.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Cute project, Holly!! I love the "You Snooze, You Lose." :) I haven't tried freezer paper before...would be cute on onesies. :)

Marilyn Holeman said...

Hi Holly, I just found your blog today--and what a gold mine! I almost sent a link to my daughter, until I realised--no, not till AFTER Christmas! :-) Hope you have a merry one, Marilyn

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I do this all the time. It really is so easy. Good idea!


Raise Them Up said...

They turned out great! I've never used wax paper, but now I'm anxious to try it! Thanks for sharing!

Tricia said...

Hi Holly.
I am adding this post and a link to your Thrifty gift series on Inspire My Saturday today. Thanks for sharing.